21 Different One-Light Portrait Setups for You To Try

A one-light portrait setup may seem simple, but it needn't be. There are so many different ways to manipulate artificial light that even if you limit yourself to just one, you can create a plethora of different, interesting looks. Here are twenty-one different lighting setups for you to try.

In the past five years or so, I've gravitated towards more complex lighting setups. Perhaps it's because I have access to more lights than ever before, or perhaps it's my rather sudden love for continuous lights, I'm not sure. Either way, I like to use multiple lights to illuminate my subject, and then practicals and background lights to finish off the look. Although this appears to be a way of being more creative, it often has the opposite effect. That is, by using more lights, you become less creative with them. Whenever I use just one light, I become far more adventurous with how I shape and use it.

In this great video, METKIN Продакшн goes through twenty-one different single light setups, with no adverts, no sponsors, no talking; it's just a clean video, clearly showing lots of options with just one artificial light for portraits. Even if you gravitate towards using a minimalist kit usually, I can all but guarantee there will be some new techniques in this video you haven't tried.

Rob Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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Very Cool video :-)

Good video, but at least the photographer has a true light and a good room. I have none of that, and I had to do that kind of photography in the hotel room where I was staying, with a slide projector used as the light source after having removed it’s greenish heat filter, and a white polystyrene board used as reflector, kept in place with available objects like a chair, books, adhesive tape, etc… and same thing for the background…